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Friday, December 8, 2023

Nalanda Mahavihara May Lose ‘World Heritage Site’ Status If Bihar Govt Does Not Submit Conservation Plan Soon: ASI

Patna: The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) has asked the Bihar government to submit its plan to conserve Nalanda Mahavihara in order to keep the ‘World Heritage’ site status for the remains of the ancient world renowned learning centre. If the integrated master plan, which has been in the making for long, along with its compliance reports are not submitted to the Paris-based World Heritage Centre (WHC) within the stipulated time, Nalanda Mahavihara runs the risk of being removed from UNESCO’s coveted World Heritage list, as per ASI.Also Read – LIVE | Pak vs Afg Updates, Warm-up Game: Babar Back; Pakistan Opt to Bowl

Nalanda was an acclaimed Mahavihara, a large Buddhist monastery, in the ancient kingdom of Magadha which is the present-day Bihar. The site is located about 95 kilometres southeast of Patna. It was a centre of learning from the fifth century CE to1200 CE. The Excavated Remains at Nalanda got inscribed as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2016. The WHC is the coordinator within UNESCO for all matters related to World Heritage. Also Read – Gold Rates Fall On Thursday. Check Today's Prices Across Indian Cities Here

“The commitment about submission of the integrated master plan for the protection and preservation of the Nalanda Mahavihara made at the time of inscription of this site in UNESCO’s World Heritage list must be respected,” Goutami Bhattacharya, Superintending Archaeologist of ASI, Patna circle, told PTI. Also Read – Fawad Khan's The Legend of Maula Jatt Becomes Highest-Grossing Pakistani Film Worldwide, Massive Collection at Box Office – Check Detailed Report


Despite repeated reminders by the ASI in recent months, the Nalanda district administration has not submitted the integrated master plan to the ASI, she claimed. “Non-submission of the integrated master plan within the deadline may force the World Heritage Committee to take a negative view,” said the ASI official. “If the WHC takes a negative view regarding a monument, it is placed on the endangered list leading to automatic revocation of the world heritage status,” Bhattacharya said.

“It will be very embarrassing for a country. To avoid such situations, I have been consistently writing letters to the district magistrate of Nalanda to submit the integrated master plan at the earliest,” she added.

The WHC meeting in this regard is likely to be held in the first week of December. Bhattacharya said she had written the last letter to the DM on this on October 17. The same letter has also been sent to the principal secretaries of the art, culture & youth affairs and the urban development and housing departments of the state government.

One of the commitments to the World Heritage Centre in respect of excavated remains of Nalanda Mahavihara was re-routing the road connecting state highway 80 and 110 (which passes between the site and the museum). An alternate route was to be identified to regulate vehicular traffic and thereby minimise any adverse impact on the site due to pollution. Similarly, the congestion of the entrance gate by hawkers is a perennial problem that does not appear to have been addressed at all, said Bhattacharya.

The excavated site has stupas, shrines, viharas (residential and educational buildings) and important artworks in stucco, stone and metal.

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